Don't Dis Brand Plans

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Long-term plans for brands brought together through mergers and acquisitions are largely an afterthought. But failure to adequately address the brands' value or strategic roles can hinder future business success or create barriers to effective integration of the two companies.

"A brand's value is not fixed in isolation; it is as much a consequence of the merger or acquisition and the subsequent business strategy of the merged entity as it is an input to them. That's why the risk extends beyond just ignoring a brand's value; the potentially bigger risk is valuing a brand in a way that has no relation to how you plan to use it in the new business. The result could be a big future write-down or an equally big constraint on the future business strategy."

The solution? Gauge value by how the brands will affect demand; tie the brand strategy firmly to the business strategy; and develop and manage the brand transition plan.

"[Aquirers] have to push brand valuations beyond assumed dollar values and well beyond simply assessments of image and awareness."

-"Bringing Brand into the M&A Discussions," by Suzanne Hogan, COO, and senior partners Simon Glynn and James Bell, Lippincott Mercer, Mercer Management Journal, No. 20

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